DSM Evidence Lockers Create Prisoner Property Storage at Montclair PD

“Small but mighty” is an expression that could be attributed to the Montclair Police Department. Located in San Bernardino County, this California city has a population of nearly 37,000 people—all in a radius of five and a half miles.

When Montclair’s department was first established in 1956, a sworn force of six officers served a community of 8,000 residents—today, it employs 60 sworn officers in addition to 50 full- and part-time civilian personnel. The department’s headquarters fits the culture and character of the community it serves, with the facility’s angles and roofline designed to match the landscape of the mountains in the distance.

Inmate Property Lockers at Montclair Police Department

Inmate Property Lockers at Montclair Police Department

While it was certainly important to reflect a sense of community on the outside of the building, there was a concerted effort to accommodate the growth of that community on the inside—decades of growth, to be exact. A large population of Montclair is made up of young people who came to the area as college students, and more of those students are deciding to stay after graduation. Montclair wanted to be prepared, and at the same time, there was only so much square footage in the new building. The department would need to get creative with storage space.

One of the areas that needed special attention was Montclair’s prisoner intake room. The room was small, and the department wanted a place where they could place evidence they had taken from a perpetrator for safekeeping while they went through the process of booking that person. “The officers couldn’t just leave a prisoner in the room while they went over to the evidence intake area and processed the items,” says Dave Cagle, Senior Design Consultant at McMurray Stern, a Spacesaver-authorized distributor in Southern California. “They needed a ‘short-term before the short-term’ solution.”

In order to maximize the limited space of the room and coordinate with the workflow of the building, Cagle designed a small bank of DSM evidence lockers to fit under the counter of the prisoner intake room. The lockers were sized to fit the smaller items that might be on a prisoner’s person—and one a prisoner was booked, it gave the officers the opportunity to go back to the intake space, retrieve the evidence, and take it to the evidence intake area. There, they placed the items in a bank of pass-thru short-term DSM evidence lockers, where they could be securely stored until retrieved by an evidence technician.

The prisoner property lockers, as the department calls them, have become an important step in the process of maintaining a secure chain of custody for their evidence. “It was a small solution,” Cagle says, “but keeping the officers at ease, especially when it comes to evidence collection, has made a huge difference for the department.”

Short-term evidence lockers for prisoner intake room at Montclair Police Department

Because of this continual access, time for evidence room management was being taken away from the already small amount of time the Property Room Manager could allot to other items of importance, such as evidence processing, evidence purging, and general organization. With the issue getting worse, and knowing that adding an additional employee wasn’t an option, the department reached out to Spacesaver for a space assessment.

Knowing that being able to see the evidence would cut down on wasted time, Spacesaver installed a new bank of pass-thru evidence lockers. The side of the locker bank that faced the officers was similar to the old system, but the side that faced into the Property & Evidence Room was outfitted with three doors made out of perforated mesh. Having to only open three doors at any given moment instead of three or four times that many was a time-saver in itself, but the perforated doors meant the Property Room Manager could simply glance inside those doors to see if there was evidence waiting to be processed.

The new lockers streamlined evidence room management at Aurora PD—so much so that the manager was easily able to process the day’s evidence with the time saved—and still have time to research items that were able to be purged from the evidence inventory.

When it comes to evidence processing spaces, no two are alike. Our DSM evidence lockers come in a variety of standard configurations. To see them all, download our Evidence Locker Front Door Configuration Info Sheet.

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